Friday, June 29, 2012

Giveaway results!

Thanks to everyone that entered my Giveaway, the results are in (thanks to!

Firstly, the winner of the Thurlow pattern is: Amy!!
(Thanks to Tasia for kindly providing the pattern for my giveaway)

And the winner of the fat quarters is: The Undomesticated Scientist!!

I'll be sending you guys an email shortly to get your postal addresses. I look forward to seeing what you do with the prizes :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Baby Quilt: For Olivia

This quilt is my first 'commission' of sorts. The boy asked me if I would make a quilt for Olivia, his new baby niece.

We spent a while looking through pictures of quilts looking for inspiration, settling on this quilt in my flickr favourites, that I quite blatantly copied in the design of the quilt.

We then went shopping at GJs to choose a colour scheme and fabrics. We settled on green and pink, I showed you the fabrics back in this post. Then came the normal cutting, stitching, trimming and more stitching...

The backing is this cute animals print, the scale of which was too big for the front, but was too perfect in colour scheme to keep out of the quilt entirely.

The main change (and I think improvement) that I made compared to the inspiration quilt was the quilting design. I quilted 1/4" inch away from the seam lines around each pinwheel. It was a bit of a pain to have to turn the quilt so many times, but I think well worth it. I definitely wouldn't do this kind of design on a quilt any bigger than this one though.

I left the white border relatively unquilted, other than a line of quilting 1/4" inside the border.

The quilt is bound with this really interesting but subtle pink stripe that adds some nice texture to the border

I stitched the back down by machine, which I definitely need some more practice on, it's a bit wonky but still functional.

The finished quilt is 1m x 1.3m, with polyester batting in the middle, everything was bought at GJs.

Some particular ladies have requested a tutorial for how I put this quilt together, so hopefully one of those is to follow.

PS: Have you entered my giveaway? You have two more days to enter!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Blogiversary Giveaway!!!

When I posted about my blogiversary earlier in the month I mentioned that I had something exciting to share, which I can now reveal. I will be hosting a giveaway to celebrate my three years of blogging, as I'd like to say thanks to everyone that reads and the friendly/helpful/amusing comments that you leave, it certainly is an incentive to continue sharing what I've been working on.

I'm excited to announce that I will have two prizes for my giveaway - since my creations are of both the garment sewing and quilting variety, I thought it would be nice to be able to give away something from either.

For the garment sewers among you, since I already shared with you how much I love this pattern, I am offering a copy of the Thurlow Trousers/Shorts pattern from Sewaholic patterns...

I wholeheartedly recommend this pattern, even if (especially if) the idea of making trousers/shorts is daunting to you - it's a great pattern with fantastic instructions.

And for the quilters among you, I am offering this bundle of 5 fat quarters of "oval elements" fabric...

It's really beautiful fabric, lovely and soft with such pretty colours. I always have a look and a stroke at the basket of these fat quarters when I go to GJs. I figure they'd look great in a quilt together or be a fantastic addition to a stash.

You can enter in the draw to win either of the prizes, or just one of them, so please let me know if you're only interested in the garment/quilting one so that the prizes go to a loving home.

Entries close on Friday the 29th of June at 9am Melbourne time (which is midnight Thurs/Fri in London, 7pm Thurs New York, and 4pm Thurs in LA).

Please make sure that your post links your email address so that I can contact you (or back to your blog where you have your email address shown), and also include the country the prize would be being posted to*.

To enter please comment on this post before the deadline and as well as saying which prize you'd like to be in the running to win, please tell me about your favourite birthday celebration memory (your own birthday or somebody elses).

Remember to make sure that your country* and contact details are included or I'll have to exclude your entry!

* (Your country won't affect your chances of winning, I just need to know whether I'm taking it with me to the UK when I leave on Friday or posting it from Australia, trying to minimise postage costs and all that)

The Giveaway is now closed!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Thurlow Shorts

As you may have now seen, the newest pattern released from Sewaholic Patterns is for the Thurlow Trousers/Shorts. I was very excited to be a pattern tester for this pattern, and am even more excited that I can now finally share what I made!

For the actual pattern testing I made this pair of shorts, but since then I have also made a pair of trousers which I will also hopefully share shortly.

My shorts are made from some brown wool suiting that I bought at The Fabric Store, and are my new favourite winter wardrobe item!


Now, I'm sure you're probably thinking something along the lines of "What on earth are you on about Rachel, shorts a winter staple? That doesn't make sense?!" but please hear me out... Firstly this takes me back to my long held belief that skirts are better than trousers in winter. Think about it - it's cold and wet and chances are you end up with cold and wet ankles because your trousers got wet when you were walking around outside. Whereas, skirts and tights are comparably warm BUT you don't get wet ankles... see where I'm going here?

Now, my primary mode of transport is my bike. Bike riding is great, it's cheap, its speedy, and it's good exercise. However, trousers are a pain to wear cycling as they get caught in the chain unless you put a strap around them or fold them up. Skirts don't have that downfall, but you do have to keep an eye on what's going on with them because sometimes they get caught by the wind...

Now, bring in shorts, which if worn with tights as shown in these photos are just as warm as the other options, and have neither of the downfalls - no cold wet ankles when it's cold and wet, and they aren't going to get caught by the wind when you're riding - win win!

Ok, I think that's enough waxing lyrical about the benefits of shorts, now I'd like to move on to waxing lyrical about these shorts in particular, or more specifically the pattern they were made from.

The Thurlow pattern is AMAZING. I made a grand total of one alteration to this pattern to make these shorts - I liked the length of the uncuffed pattern but wanted the cuffs so I lengthened them by 6cm. That's it, no other alterations. I made a straight up size 10 and they are hands down the most comfortable pair of shorts/trousers in my wardrobe right now.

I was a bit nervous about sewing up the pattern as it had two things that I have limited or no experience with; fly zips and welt pockets. I've done one fly zip before and it was a bit of a disaster - I did stitching lines in the wrong places and it just looks amateur. My fly on these is (if I do say so myself) perfect, I couldn't be happier with it, and I owe it all to Tasia's very clear instructions.

I also did my very first welt pockets, and again, with Tasia's instructions they look great! However, they are hand stitched together at the moment because I (stupidly) made the pocket bags out of black fabric and the pockets gape a tiny bit and it's really obvious because of the different colours. I'm planning on getting some buttons and adding little button loops to hold the pockets closed. But that's due to my stupidity, not an error in the pattern.

So yeah, incase you hadn't already guessed, I highly recommend this pattern, it really is fantastic!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Back working the sticks...

As you probably guessed by my post the other day about the Clegs sale, I've decided to sneak a little knitting back into my life. After learning to knit over Christmas, I haven't done much since finishing my first socks, but it's getting pretty cold here now so the desire for cosy knitted things has grown.

I've decided to have a go at a basic cable pattern - it turns out it's not as difficult as I thought it would be, which is good. It's actually quite fun to knit.

I've created a project for this on ravelry, if your'e intereted you can see it here.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Clegs Remnant Sale...

On Friday Clegs had a sale - tables full of remnants and yarn reduced. So Misaya and I rushed down there in our lunchbreak to take advantage of the sale.

I bought a remnant of jersey fabric ($3.75 for a new t-shirt!), and some yarn for some socks and a mini scarf/neck warmer:

Misaya bought lots of yarn in lovely colours, I'm not entirely sure what she has planned, but it sure is nice to look at and stroke!

Yay for Sales!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sewing Lessons - part 4

Misaya came over on the weekend to work on her quilt some more. The next step was hand stitching the binding onto the back of the quilt.

I had some quilt binding to sew down too, so we sat on the couch and watched Rattatouille while stitching the binding.

Look at how neat her stitching is. And can you see the spot where the binding is pieced - she had a go at matching the stripes and did pretty well for a first try!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Branching out with the FMQ

After completing the quilting of my Concentric Hexagon Quilt with free motion stippling all over, I've become quite comfortable with the design. So, I have decided to branch out a little with the free motion quilting design for the next quilt I'm working on...

I was inspired to try this quilting design by this quilt by Sew Katie Did, and then in case I needed another push Elizabeth Hartman posted a tutorial on how she quilted it.

Now both Elizabeth and Katie call this style an "orange peel" design. However, as I still need a little practice on this, I've decided that mine aren't orange peels, but leaves; as leaves aren't all exactly the same shape and size ;)

PS: photographing white quilting on white fabric is tricky!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Finished: Cambie Dress

I finished my Cambie Dress, and I love it!

It's tricky to pick my favourite part; the sweetheart neckline, the gathered cap sleeves, the a-line skirt, the pockets... but after careful consideration I think it's the addition of the extra little waistband piece. Since my fabric has some stretch, but the waistband piece is cut so that it doesn't have stretch around the waist it has a nice stabilising effect in a very comfortable dress. Oh, and (I think) it's flattering too.

On top of all those positives about the finished dress, one massive bonus of the pattern itself is how economical it is in terms of fabric usage! As I mentioned before, I had 2.6m of this fabric and I managed to squeeze the pieces into a meager 1.5 metres - pretty good for a dress! (Leaving me a decent size piece left over to make a skirt)

The fabric is a stretch sateen, and I wanted to see if I could find some in a coordinating colour for the waistband - as you can see I found a matching navy (from Clegs).

I used some normal slippery lining fabric to line the skirt.

As I mentioned the other day, despite making a muslin of the bodice there were some fit issues, most likely due to the stretch in my fabric and because I used stretch sateen to line the bodice as well. The bodice was massively gaping through the front neckline.

The fit issues were fixed by extending the stitching line of the darts to convert it into a princess seam. This removed the extra fabric from the neckline. Shown above is the line of stitching I added, you can see the original dart near the top of the photo, and the added line is the curved bit further down. I also shortened the straps slightly at the lower seam.

While I'm pretty sure it was my fabric choices the caused the problems, I'm happy with my choice, as the double layer of stretch sateen gives the bodice a nice structure whilst still being comfortable.

Other than that alteration I didn't deviate from the instructions, which are very clear, and the inside of the zip looks fab! I even took the suggestion from the instructions to sew the waistband down by hand at the end, to make sure it was perfectly lined up. I'm glad I took the time to do that.


Since the flowers are relatively random I didn't bother matching the print, even on the centre back seam or where the pockets are. I think it still looks pretty good. The only print placing I paid attention to was where the flowers would fall on the bodice front.


Since I had already cut out waistband pieces in the print before I bought the navy solid I decided to use one of the space waistband prints on the inside - nobody will see it but it makes me smile. It also makes me think that this dress would look pretty awesome in a solid with a contrast waistband!


So in summary of a particularly picture heavy post - I love this dress! I definitely need quite a few more!

(Thanks Misaya for taking the photos!)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fabulous Sewing Day

Yesterday I got together with a few friends for a very enjoyable sewing day. Just like our weekend away there was lots of sewing done and even more laughter had.

Do you get together with friends for sewing? If not, I highly recommend it. In fact, if you're in Melbourne you're more than welcome to join us, just let me know if you're interested.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cate Parr Prints...

Last year I discovered Silver Ridge Studio on etsy. Cate Parr is an amazing artist who is selling originals and prints of some beautiful watercolour paintings. I wanted to get some of the prints back then, but at the time I was living in a bedroom in the roof-space and as such didn't have any walls to hang things on. Thankfully I have now moved and have walls so I'm re-visiting the idea.

I spent quite a lot of time yesterday looking through all the prints and liked far too many of them. I have now narrowed them down somewhat, but here are some of my favourites that didn't quite make the cut:

I think I've narrowed it down to two sets of three (think being the operative word).

Option 1:

Option 2:

Which would you choose?
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